Two stories paint different pictures in dog shooting

By From page A9 | January 18, 2013

Two sides to the story of how Red Hawk murder suspect Estephen Juarez was arrested have arisen, giving conflicting reports.

In a letter to the Mountain Democrat, Mary McCalister claimed that, on Dec. 3, 2012, El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputies shot and killed her 8-year-old dog, Stormy, while searching for Juarez.

“They had me, a 73-year-old grandmother, come out of my house and handcuffed me,” McCalister wrote, “and then when they told my roommate to come out, my dog came out with her.” The dog simply wanted to play with the sheriff’s dog, McCalister claimed, but was pushed back by the K-9 deputy with his foot. “Stormy turned around and started back” toward the deputy and when he got close, the deputy shot and killed McCaliser’s dog.

“Not once did Stormy show any aggression. He did not charge, growl or bark,” she wrote. She wrote that, given the chance, she would have made her dog sit — he had been through obedience school and could follow commands.

McCalister also noted that Juarez was “surrendering peacefully at another home down the road and across the street.”

The official report, however, paints a different picture. El Dorado County Sheriff’s Lt. Tim Becker said that the warrant was for the suspect, who they believed to be at McCalister’s house, and that the house was surrounded by deputies. The K-9 unit and deputy were on the other side of a patrol vehicle from the house, Becker said.

“The owner (of the house) came to the door and was told to keep the dog inside,” he said. A second woman came to the door to try to keep the dog in, but the dog was being “aggressive, got out and went out after the (K-9 unit).” The deputy “tried to fight the dog off, but was unsuccessful.” According to the report, Stormy was “so forceful, they couldn’t keep him in the house. He made a beeline for the K-9 unit.”

Sgt. Jim Byers confirmed that, contrary to McCalister’s statement, Juarez was found on the same property, rather than across and down the street. He was with a relative, according to the report, in a trailer that was in “line of sight” from the main residence.

Becker noted that McCalister visited the Sheriff’s Office after the incident, inquiring only about reimbursement for her dog, but not complaining about what happened.

Cole Mayer

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